A Plethora of Possibilities! The Eindhoven Summit

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese proverb.

Have you ever contemplated about a startup? Do you see yourself as an entrepreneur? Do you already have a startup and are aiming high? Whatever stage you are on, you are at the right place if you are in Eindhoven. This is what I discovered at the Eindhoven Startup Summit.

My gloomy Thursday morning suddenly transformed when I walked in the doors of the Evoluon to attend the first ever Eindhoven Startup Summit. I was surrounded by bright minds and busy bodies who were as eager as I was to see how the day would unfold.

The Eindhoven Startup Summit was organized by the Eindhoven Startup Foundation which like Eindhoven News is an organization made possible by volunteers. The dedication, energy, enthusiasm and effort gone behind the event was something any attendee could not miss. A non-profit organization ‘for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs’, the Eindhoven Startup Foundation has about 400 members who visit one or more of 100 meetups organized every year.

Started by Victoria Martinez after she moved from Helsinki to Eindhoven, Victoria wanted to meet like minded startup professionals and make friends. To be able to do just this, she started a meetup group in 2013. The meetup group took off very well and facilitated the formation of a foundation in 2014. With a board and an advisory board in place, the foundation stresses on the need to inculcate an ambitious mindset, to aim high and seek challenges.

Most activities are suggested or requested by members and the Eindhoven Startup Summit was one of these suggestions. The Summit had a fantastic lineup of speakers, from Mark van der Heijden who travelled the world and exchanged his creative talent for a place to stay, to Sándor Erdei who is the CEO of the dbh group that was once a startup. Each of the speakers was authentic and presented their ideas and unique startups really well. I also got a fresh perspective on PR and adapting ones’ vision from Marc Köhlbrugge the founder of Betalist.

The Mayor of Eindhoven who gave the commencement address, mentioned that Eindhoven is a combination of great ideas, designers and technology and a place where the fundamentals of the digital world get created. The only element missing or that could be better was the presence of institutional investors he said. As I see it, it shouldn’t be too long for that to fall in place as well. The sense of community and sharing that exists among the members of the Eindhoven Startup Foundation together with their entrepreneurial spirit will surely expedite the process.

Gerard Dekkers, founder of Mentes Me and one of the founders of the Eindhoven Startup Foundation mentioned that Eindhoven is perfect for startups because of all that it has to offer. Be it the high-tech environment, varied meetup groups that facilitate exchange or the inspiration and feedback generated during such exchanges. He also mentioned that he met one of his key employees through the network.

For anyone who is contemplating about a startup or anyone who has a startup and is looking to broaden her or his network or looking for help and resources, the meetups organized by the Eindhoven Startup Foundation is the place to be. From specific workshops to experience sharing to investor meetups, the foundation organizes a lot to support startups in the region.
Sarah Ban Breathnach said ‘The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.’ I am very happy to have met these dreamers and doers during the first Eindhoven Startup Summit and I am sure the next one will only be better.

Namratha Rao
Stakeholder-centric Communications Expert

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